Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society has resumed in-person grief support groups in October after an 18-month hiatus due to COVID-19.
The society recommenced a nine-week program on Oct. 6, with a group of nine participating members.
“[It’s] absolutely wonderful,” Joanne Ritchie, hospice coordinator, told The Northern View. “Having it in-person shows people that they’re not alone. It reinforces that there are people out there who want to hear their story and help them through this journey they’re going through.”
The grief support program offers understanding and comfort after a loved one passes in a compassionate group setting. Personal situations with others who are experiencing similar issues can be shared.
The current nine-week session is full, however, professional counselling is still available from trained volunteers for whoever may need it.
The next start date is not yet set, however, the next session is currently being planned for the new year.
“Nobody can make any predictions at this stage. Provided things continue as they are now we will be able to continue with our groups as they are,” Ritchie said.
The society is also running the yearly raffle to raise funds for the primarily volunteer-run organization. This year’s top prizes are a hand-made quilt for third place, an oil painting for runner-up, both made by local artists Jenny McLean and Alana Rice, respectively, and a grand prize of $1,000.
The society has 24 volunteers, 10 of whom are trained for grief telephone support. The organization is currently looking for volunteers to complete training.
Funds from the raffle go to support those in need of end-of-life care, with the money used to purchase equipment such as portable body slings, commodes and other various equipment to help people stay in their home, for as long as possible, Ritchie said. Some equipment is also purchased for their facilities in the hospital.
Pandemic restrictions have led to lower than average money raised over the past two years. People can purchase tickets by calling the hospice society at 250-622-6204, e-transfer by emailing email@example.com or on their new website princeruperthospice.org/events.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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